Peacebuilding: New Efforts Needed in a Crisis Situation

EDITORIAL, 6 Nov 2023

#821 | René Wadlow – TRANSCEND Media Service

The ongoing armed conflicts between Russia and Ukraine and Israel-Hamas have highlighted in a harsh light the need for new efforts at peacebuilding – the older efforts having been inadequate to prevent these armed conflicts. Both conflicts seem far from the stage of negotiations in good faith so that common interests may be found.  Unfortunately, it seems that the two conflicts will grind on with an ever-larger number of persons killed.  There is also a danger of the conflicts spreading.

The Security Council of the United Nations has been blocked by the veto of one or more of the permanent members from proposing a cease-fire and humanitarian follow-up measures in the Israel-Hamas conflict although the U.N. General Assembly by a large majority has proposed a cease-fire.

With positive governmental measures largely absent, we must look at the possibilities of non-governmental efforts for creative peacebuilding. Especially in the Israel-Hamas conflict, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have taken a lead in calling for a cease-fire and for an end to the blockade of supplies to the Gaza Strip.  Some humanitarian supplies collected by NGOs have been able to enter the Gaza area from the Egyptian Sinai.  There have been some efforts among NGOs already working on the Israel-Palestine issues to renew dialogue, but attitudes have hardened.

There is a wide-spread sense of despair and apprehension about the future.  There is frustration that earlier Track Two meetings or dialogues have not been able to move the situation forward.

Thus, we are at a time when new, revitalized efforts on the part of NGOs and academic peace researchers are needed.  There is a need for imagination and creativity.  We must reach out to new voices and re-contact persons who had been active earlier but who had left the “battlefield”.  We need to leave despair behind and move to the creation of a new reality.


René Wadlow is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. He is President of the Association of World Citizens, an international peace organization with consultative status with ECOSOC, the United Nations organ facilitating international cooperation and problem-solving in economic and social issues, and editor of Transnational Perspectives.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 6 Nov 2023.

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4 Responses to “Peacebuilding: New Efforts Needed in a Crisis Situation”

  1. Dear René,

    No matter how much effort we do, individually or through any of the hundreds of antiwar NGOs, there is no hope whatsoever, whilst people continue to believe in miracles or sorcery.

    If weapons were a deterrent we would give one to every child at school, to ensure Peace in the classroom. Whilst people keep calling the War or Death industry, “Defense”, there is no hope of a war-free world. The same industry is also for ‘attacks’. In fact, a Defense Minister cannot do his job without attacks or threats of attacks.

    To accept the war industry and Armed Forces and expect Peace, is as absurd as accepting the Film industry without actors and cinemas. As absurd as planting a tree to grow spaghetti,


  2. The ‘new’ effort you refer to, is, in my humble opinion, the acceptance that the Peace Movement has failed humanity.

    In my movement – HUFUD – we demand the Universal Abolition of Militarism, no War industry, no Armed Forces (slaves of politicians, who kill and die according whenever political orders come)

    Politicians are normal human beings, not magicians with special powers. We cannot expect them to promote the sale and export of our killing toys, from small grenades to gigantic warships, without organising and promoting wars.

  3. Poka Laenui says:

    Thank you Rene Wadlow, for your call for a renewed effort for peace by peaceful means, for an ever refreshing commitment to this task for peace. At times, I too become so disappointed with the failed efforts and want to give into the dispair shared by Alberto but where does that dispair lead but to further violence as a pathway for peace.

    What are some of the new formulas for peace by peaceful means? Who are the new voices? Shall we begin to hear from children who are still hopeful for a future of peace? Shall we gather the victims of war who are hopefully not too battered by war who have not lost the desire for peace? Shall we seek solutions in poetry and songs, in a search through religious texts that teach of a softer face of such religions, shall we hear from dreamers whose voices we have not heard from?

    Does this new formula for peace call for new gathering places outside of war zones and out of the views of the aggressive media? Camp David was an excellent idea for the removal of the venue and there seems to have been much progress made by that removal, for a time. Jimmy Carter had a wonderful idea of asking war lords to come and speak to his Church! What a brilliant and refreshing idea.

    Does this new formula for peace call for new ideas of how the conflict between Israel and Gaza and Palestine and all of the Middle East is to come to a peaceful resolution? Johan Galtung have called for, if I remember correctly, a step by step plan, including an ever expanding inclusion of parties and territories, which seems to be ignored by the present war-lords in Gaza and Israel.

    Are we looking too narrowly at the question of territory and authority over that territory? Are we failing to look at areas of conflict in religions, economics, living conditions, oppression, respect for human dignity?

    Have we cornered ourselves within the walls of the Domination of one party over the other in a constant search of showing at the end of the past “peace process” that we have been successful in being the dominant party and having accumulated or “won” a better piece of the “pie” for ourselves? In such a never-ending drive for domination, have we killed the hope for a shared peace resulting in a larger pie for all? This domination mentality occurs in domestic politics as well as in international relations. In both arenas, it can be murderous.

    What happened to the appreciation of confession? There have been enough violations to peace and human rights that certainly each party can make some confession of transgressions in the past. Confession is difficult because it is too often followed by justification based on past victimization. When that occurs, we need voices of maturity, either from the parties or from intermediaries to guide the discussion away from ending in accusations but to understanding. Built within such deep discussions is the important role of time-outs, shared food, and rests.

    The Hawaiian people have a process called Ho`oponopono, which traditionally has been used by families as a conflict resolution method. I’m sure that there are other traditional methods used among people across the world. Perhaps an exploration of such methods that have managed to keep the peace among people who can be fierce at times, adjusted for an international conflict, can be of use.

    Rene Wadlow, thankyou for raising this theme of never-ending hope and renewal.
    Aloha `aina.

    • René Wadlow says:

      Dear Colleagues, While many of the earlier avenues of dialogue on crucial issues have been broken, I think that there are possibilities of creating new groups. There are a good number of people recently in exile, such as those who have left the Russian Federation and Afghanistan. There are also people who had been active in the past. There are new students in university courses on international relations and peacebuilding. The current situation calls for sustained efforts. Best wishes, René Wadlow